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© Airi Mikkela

Finland's Airi Mikkela on world trip to Peru, Brazil, Switzerland and New Zealand

© Airi Mikkela+

This whole Olympic qualification period has already been a huge adventure for me. But I feel like the biggest adventure so far is starting tomorrow!

I never thought I would do something like this, I never thought I would have the courage. But here I am, ready to travel around the whole world. Check out the map at the top of this article: Odense, Denmark - Lima, Peru - Sao Paulo, Brazil - Zurich, Switzerland - Auckland, New Zealand - Odense, Denmark.

I just had to make this beautiful map to show you that I really am going to travel all the way across the whole world - or around the world, I don't which is the right way to say it. Unfortunately the flights are not quite as straight as on that map which means that I'm gonna spend 'a few' hours on the flights and at the airports. I'm gonna play four tournaments and travel four weeks in a row, which is pretty wild. But I guess the wildest thing in all of this is that I'm doing it all by myself.

I've always been the girl who enjoys the comfort zone and feeling safe. This whole Olympic qualification has been a crazy experience for me and I'm sometimes even a little bit scared of how much I've grown, how much I've learnt and - yeah, how much I've also changed. Going into this I had no idea how tough this would be. I thought I knew how it feels like to be under pressure and how it is to be extremely nervous, but honestly I had absolutely no idea. Now I know how those things feel like and I know better than ever what it is to be outside my own comfort zone. I'm constantly crossing my limits and giving all I have. That's so amazing but at the same time it's very exhausting. So many times this year I've been feeling so small and so weak and there have been moments where I've needed the closest people in my life more than ever. But then I've just kept on going and been so strong and independent again. Now there are only two more months to go and I know that if I was brave enough to start, I will also be brave enough to finish this project.

It is absolutely crazy how close me and Nanna are to each other in the ranking right now. In the Olympic ranking there is only one point between us. It is so harsh that only one can go to Rio and these last two months will be extremely thrilling... We both need to take risks now because you just don't get those ranking points by sitting home. That's why I've decided that it's time to say byebye comfort zone and see you soon Peru and New Zealand!

I can tell you that if you one day decide to make a trip like this alone, you need to be ready to do so much preparations. Only just finding and booking the flights can easily take a couple of days. Plus one day when one of the flights you bought is suddenly cancelled and you have a 'panic-help-what-am-I-gonna-do-now' kind of day. Then you have to find friends to share the hotels with, book the hotels, book transportation to the hotels and halls, find someone to practice with and book the practice courts. After all that you can slowly start thinking about all the small details such as packing and paying for the extra baggage. Besides, it's good to google a gym or something else to do when you have 12 hours waiting time at an airport. Also, make sure that you have all the visas and other papers you need! And of course you must have adapters for those foreign plugs and sleeping pills for the long flights. If you manage to handle all these things without going bananas, then all I can say is well done!

My trip starts tomorrow, OMG ALREADY TOMORROW! There are so many things going through my mind right now. However, everything should be organized and all the details fixed. Luckily I'm not traveling for the first time and I already know how the long flights, tiredness and jet lag, passport controls, strange halls, too slow shuttles and hotel life are. I know that the first thing to do in Peru is not running to the bathroom to drink water from the tap and I know that I will not go for sightseeing with a taxi alone in Brazil. I also know that the most important thing is to relax and relax and relax. I have learnt so much and I know how to do this.

I will try to write as much as possible from my journey and I will try to remember to take a lot of photos, I'm sure it will look nice there! I will for sure have so many lonely hours that I should have time for my blog if I just can find an internet and a plug (and the adapter!).

Now it's time to finish packing (you have no idea how difficult it is to pack everything for four weeks in one bag!), go down to the hall for some training and then take it easy for the rest of the evening. I will write soon again, probably from the other side of the world! :)

xxx
Airi

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via Airi Mikkela

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